Perez’s penalty due to his “rap sheet” – Whitmarsh

2013 Belgian Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez was harshly treated by the stewards during the Belgian Grand Prix because other drivers have made him a focus of attention, says Martin Whitmarsh.

The McLaren team principal said Perez’s penalty for forcing Romain Grosjean wide during the race was “a harsh decision”. Whitmarsh believes Perez has been singled out by the stewards.

“I think if you’ve got a rap sheet you’ve got to be squeaky clean, haven’t you?” said Whitmarsh after the race.

“It’s tough when you’re a young driver, you’re coming in amongst that inevitably the older drivers will gang up on you, they’ll put you under pressure in the drivers’ briefing and create the environment like that.

“That’s the business, that’s the sport. I think it’s pretty tough, he’ll be very, very disappointed, he should have been up there well in the points from a good drive, even with the one [pit] stop. It’s tough but we’ll live to fight another day.”

“He’s clearly going to be watched closely at the moment, he’s got to be careful in these moments,” Whitmarsh added. Perez’s drive-through penalty was his first sanction so far this year.

Whitmarsh said the team decided not to bring Perez in for a second pit stop after his penalty: “After the drive-through then we chose to one-stop, was going to be tough, didn’t quite work out.”

“I think in retrospect probably should have converted to two but I think from where we were then we thought ‘let’s take a bit of a gamble’,” he said. “Overall, nothing went brilliantly.”

2013 Belgian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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40 comments on “Perez’s penalty due to his “rap sheet” – Whitmarsh”

  1. if grosjean got a penalty for his pass on massa in hungary, they had to give perez one for this race
    the rules are clear on both cases

    1. Didn’t Grojean get his penalty for overtaking off the track in Hungary, not pushing the other driver off ?

      1. He was penalised for both. I’ve seen several comments from people who don’t realise this and I’ve no idea how this misunderstanding has arisen – both his penalties were mentioned here:

        Grosjean given 20-second penalty but keeps sixth
        Lotus unhappy with Grosjean’s “very harsh” penalty

        1. Ahh so he was.
          I think people remember the overtake on Massa much more than when he pushed Button off haha
          Thanks Keith

    2. If you were comparing those 2 incidents, then it should have been Massa receiving the penalty in Hungary @rigi

    3. They were quite different incidents…

      1. both penalties were okay, strictly seen. but they shouldn’t have been awarded!

      2. If you look at both incidents by the strict definitions of the law. Then Grosjean did gain an advantage by passing Massa off the track, however.. Perez did leave enough room for Grosjean and shouldn’t have been punished. I’m not really a fan of either driver.. But the stewards got a couple of decisions wrong at Spa I thought. It was like the old days when random penalties used to be applied that didn’t make sense.

    4. Hamilton/Kobayashi is a better comparison (even if DC is wrong in clip!):

      Hamilton paid the price by crashing into the barriers and admitted 100% responsibility. Maybe Whitmarsh (and Perez) should instead be thanking Grosjean for not holding his line, instead of bemoaning the stewards.

  2. **. This one was clean and correct. Perez pushed him deep onto the curbs, where Grosjean couldn’t hold it. Open your eyes, Mr. Whitmarsh.

    1. I agree. Perez pushed Grosjean out and deserved his penalty.

      1. He left enough space. It was fair. Obviously no proper driver on the stewards. Or somebody with a bias against Perez.. Because it was an unfair penalty.

        1. He did not leave enough space. Grosjean had to go over the kerbs to avoid collision.

  3. I can kind of agree where Martin’s coming from. From a stewards point of view, they should be judging the drivers based on that incident alone (Another reason why I disagree with Grosjean’s ban last year), but at the moment I think it’s the only way that these drivers are going to learn to keep it clean. It’s managed to work for Grosjean (Okay, he’s not perfect yet, but he’s still young compared to some of the drivers) Maldonado also seems to be a bit calmer this year, Van de Garde is getting his act together after a tough few races around Canada time, so now I think it’s Gutierrez’s turn, particularly after the incident today…

    1. I don’t see how Perez has been singled out by the stewards, nor ganged up on by the drivers, when this is his first sanction of the year. Personally I think the penalty was warranted, and one thought I had when it first happened was that I wondered if they would sanction Perez in part to show RG that it is a two way street and if he has felt singled out at all (deservedly so for his erratic driving particularly last year) then they have now shown him that he is not always the offender and that they will stand up for him too. ie. I don’t know if the stewards care about this sort of thing, but if Whitmarsh thinks they are capable of singling someone out, then I think it is reasonable to extend that to the stewards being capable of showing an erratic driver that he can also receive justice when he himself is the harmed party.

  4. Why didn’t Vergne get investigated for pushing Hulkenberg off the circuit at Les Combes?

    1. Hulkenberg put Vergne pretty near the grass at the end of Kemmel as well, though. My guess is the stewards felt that happened in a lot less aggressive manner than Perez’ move on Grosjean.

      1. +1 They both pushed each other of the track, so it would been silly to give them both a drive-through penalty :P

    2. @magnificent-geoffrey Drivers have always been allowed to push rivals off the track at the exit of corners if they’re ahead. Like with Button and Vettel in Germany last year.

      1. In the case if Perez and Grosjean, it had to be right on the cusp of what was acceptable, then. Although Perez had only drawn alongside him, Grosjean had lost the position. He could have continued and run off the circuit (or into Perez), or backed off. He chose the former, and while Perez barely gave him enough room, he still had the option of backing out, which was the only sensible thing to do since Perez had track position and there was no way Grosjean could have taken it back.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          26th August 2013, 2:05

          It was Perez’s corner. Grosjean didn’t even have his front wheel along side Perez’s rear wheel.
          Grosjean has to learn to pick his battles, and this wasn’t one of them. He should have conceded.

          1. Totally Agree!!! Thats What im talking about! Perez clearly wins the Apex, Grosjean cries and politics play in and penalize Perez??? ***!??? ********!…
            If Vettel did this they would say “was a fair move”… Ridiculous…

          2. @tophercheese21 The mere fact that Perez was ahead does not give him the right to push the other car off the track any more than Grosjean had the same right to do so to Button in Hungary – a point McLaren’s own sporting director conceded.

          3. Chris (@tophercheese21)
            27th August 2013, 1:35

            Perez, in my view, didnt need to leave any room, because he was far enough ahead, and was taking the position, not defending it.

            If you disagree with me, then that’s fine, but in my opinion, Perez was entitled to that piece of Tarmac because Grosjean didn’t have a significant part of his car upto the rear wheels.

            Watch the onboard, Grosjean just tries to put his front wing into an ever closing gap, and then complains that he got shoved off the track. Which was BS.

            He could have conceded the corner, and not tut braked himself, and tried to get Perez back later in the race, but instead he ruins Perez’s race by claiming that he got shoved off and the stewards gave Perez the penalty. Which was unjust.

    3. Why would Vergne get investigated? Hulkenberg pushed him onto the kerbs at the end of the Kemmel, then Vergne forced Hulkenberg wide, but Vergne had the racing line so it was a legitimate move.

  5. The penalty did seem a bit harsh and Perez is not one of my favorite drivers, but this was racing. The stewards are increasingly narrowing the gap between racing incidents without contact and just plain hard racing. Being a believer in safety first and hard racing without bodily injury I can understand what the stewards are trying to accomplish, but this is still racing. Consistency in handing out penalties goes hand in hand with fair, but aggressive driving.

    Having said that, I can also see why the stewards are watching Perez closely. He has made himself a magnet for attention with some moves that were never going to result in joy. One of his biggest problems is being too aggressive before he is clearly ahead of the other driver. In some ways I appreciate his driving style, he wants to get ahead. Learn from the overtaking masters who can go wheel to wheel without damage, most of the time. Watch Raikkonen, Alonso and Hamilton, for example, and learn.

  6. penalty was to be expected, if grosjean had done that to perez then whitmarsh would have been screaming for a penalty to be handed to him

  7. Must be nice to have a team principal sticking up for you when you’re in the spotlight like that. That’ll feel good for Perez – I personally thought it was a little harsh.

  8. Perez passed Grosjean through the very right side of the track, while Grosjean was in the middle. Through the straight he slowly pushed Grosjean to the left, so he would have a better angle to take the turn. Perez slowly pushed Grosjean off the track, this was a deserved penalty, they were side by side.

  9. Penalty was correct when you consider the regulations.
    Drivers have to leave at least a car’s width if any part of another car is alongside them.

    Perez didn’t leave a car’s width & forced Grosjean to put half of his car onto the kurb, Therefore Perez broke the regulations & deserved a penalty.

    I think the only thing that saved Hulkenberg was that JEV managed to keep the car under control & complete the pass. Had JEV also been forced across the run-off Hulkenberg would have got a penalty as well.

    The penalty that I don’t get was the Guttierez one. Yes he went off track at Blanchimont while overtaking Maldonado, But he only went off because Pastor understeered & pushed him off the track.
    Esteban never got the move done by going off, He had that pass completed anyway as he had more pace & fresher tyres.

    A shame that as Esteban was faster than Hulkenberg overall through the race, Showed some real progress today, If he continues that for the rest of the year I think we will start to see just how good Esteban Guttierez actually is.

    1. I totally agree with your opinion on Gutierrez, he showed great skill today :D

  10. Two obvious penalties here.

    Perez pushed Grosjean off the track. The move was done, there was no need to keep squeezing, but he did anyway.

    Maldonaldo, according to his own admission, was trying to pit in, but was on the wrong side of the track to start with, and didn’t bother checking his mirrors.

    Both drivers have nothing to complain about.

  11. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
    25th August 2013, 17:56

    Yep, older drivers are conspiring against Perez. They think he is the new Di Resta, the threat to even the gods of heaven – let alone the RBRs and Ferraris :p

  12. I think that the stewards are applying the rules discretionally in this case. All things equal, Vergne should have gotten a drive through without exceptions.

    If anything, Grosjean’s move on Kemmel defending from Perez on that same overtake should be reviewed by the stewards, he almost forced Perez to the grass.

    I think Whitmarsh is spot on on this, Raikkonen and Alonso have been very vocal against Perez’s way of driving but I can remember when they were doing the same earlier in their careers, it’s just that todays politics and interests are killing the entertainment.

    1. Vergne had the racing line, pushing Hulkenberg wide was a legitimate move.

  13. Sam Michael acknowledged on the BBC that the Perez penalty was fair.

    Perez should have been penalised already for pushing Raikkonen off track in China. Changing line in the braking zone is not allowed, let alone moving into an opponent next to you.

  14. chris phillips (@)
    25th August 2013, 23:38

    I hate the inconsistent nature of penalties awarded. I’ve often wondered that when teams bend over backwards to accept penalties when clearly there’s ambiguity worth arguing about, they are actually compiling a video database of circumstances contributing to similar penalties that they can then put to the stewards/FIA/Ferrari(should have listed them first) when any of their drivers face future allegations of misconduct in the future. I hope these inconsistencies come to bite the powers that be in the future!
    I’m glad the penalty was awarded for the sake of consistency, but i think it was really a racing incident.

  15. That is what today’s Formula One is about. When you overtake not only by DRS, you receive penalty.

  16. This was no fair racing: pushing your opponent off the track when the corner is already yours; I find that a very serious violation. And the fact that Perez and Whitmarsh blame others rather than blaming themselves is pretty worrying. How is someone with such lack of self reflection suppose to drive a ‘killing’ machine with 750 bhp?

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